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Title: A contribution to understanding and managing the cancer experience
Author: Martin, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 6119
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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Cancer has often been set apart from other illnesses and diseases, receiving separate sources of funding and a high level of media and public coverage. Each year around 230,000 people in England will be diagnosed with cancer and incidence is projected to nearly double by 2020 (Department of Health [DoH], 2007a & 2007b). The development of government initiatives such as The NHS Cancer Plan (DoH, 2000) and The Cancer Reform Strategy (DoH, 2007a), signals that cancer care will remain a government and National Health Service priority. This thesis is comprised of three papers. The first two, a literature review and empirical study, focus on two under-researched areas within the field of cancer. Chapter one presents a critical review of research on the relationship between human-animal interaction (HAI) and psychological wellbeing, as applied to people with cancer. Research in the field of HAI incorporates activities associated with pet ownership, pet/animal assisted therapy and animal-assisted activity. HAI is increasingly used in a variety of healthcare settings with reported psychological and physical benefits. The review reveals empirical support for the association between HAI and improvements in mood, and highlights limitations within the current evidence base and directions for further research. Chapter two presents an empirical study exploring women‘s experiences of surviving early stage ovarian cancer. There is a paucity of research into what the experience of survivorship means for these women. The paper focuses on possible changes to personal and social identity using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Findings revealed four superordinate themes comprising: participant‘s reflections on, and response to, diagnosis and treatment; the meaning which the experience of survivorship holds for them; the impact of the cancer experience, including changes to personal identity. Clinical implications of the findings and directions for further research are discussed. Chapter three consists of a reflective paper considering some of the issues which arose for the researcher during the research process. They include considerations which may be of potential benefit to other clinicians or researchers within the field of HAI or cancer care.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)